I have to say being a little scared is good when u paddle out in to big surf . It makes you more intune with whats going on in you and your suroundings. Its when people get cocky that when they get hurt . If you feel up to it go for it . Just before you head out watch from the beach for awhile . Look for where it breaking and where everyone is takin off from . You can also watch to see where there are rips or if there is a current how fast it pulling people and in which direction
my advice is to be patient. if you can paddle out before the hurricane comes, score some waves before it gets too choppy, and wait wait wait, until it subsides and cleans up. Maybe I'm getting a little more picky, but I've been out when its choppy (red on the charts) and it's not worth it. Wait till the wave period is longer and its clean. You won't have wasted your energy in the chop, and it will be clean and safer in my opinion. Also, if you can, go with someone else that's done larger surf before. But i agree with some of the others, it's good to be scared.
Your right on with that. I use to get all hyped up and couldn't wait so id burn hour after hour of energy in the chop and crazy winds, and days later when it cleaned up and dropped down i was burnt out.
The one thing I think is most important is to make sure you are confident in your swimming abilities. What happens if you get out there and your leash snaps? Then you have to fight the currents and swim all the way in trying not to get worked too bad by the sets. If you aren't a strong swimmer than you become a risk not only to yourself but to others who may be forced into action in a rescue attempt if something were to happen. Just be prepared for anything out there cause realistically you are the only one responsible for yourself if you get caught in a sketchy situation.